Surveillance, the Boston Marathon bombings and the real crime in America

The Boston Marathon bombing will most likely be solved by analyzing thousands of photos, video footage, and a lot of difficult police work. This morning the New York Times tells us that video gives us the first clues:

In the first major break in the hunt for the Boston Marathon bomber, F.B.I. personnel on Wednesday found security video clips that showed a man they believe may have played a role in planting the explosives that killed three people and injured more than 170 on Monday.The videos also showed at least a handful of others whom the authorities want to question, either because of what they appear to be doing in the video or their proximity to the blasts, a senior law enforcement official said.

The official said the authorities were trying to boil down the number of people of interest in the videos and would then decide whether to ask the public’s help in locating them.

via Suspicions in Boston Attack Turn to Man Seen in Videos – NYTimes.com.

Of course, it’s not like on the TV show 24 where they could find and track a car in real time from cameras all over LA, but, by reconstructing the scene over time, a clearer picture of who done it will emerge. Because of the high profile of the crime, the FBI will get their man.

Locally, 2 nights ago, someone tried to break into my neighbor Pat’s garage. They broke the glass, but didn’t get through the screen. Had they been successful, the door had a deadbolt, double keyed. It’s just a sign of the times. My own garage has plywood screwed to the inside of two windows that were broken repeatedly by thieves, I don’t like it, but the break ins have stopped. The next day, after Pat’s attempt, we all asked his neighbor, Larry, did his camera’s show anything? They have before. We’ve also found who did a hit-skip total of a car thanks to another camera, and saw a woman drive up, walk onto a porch and steal what UPS had left. Cameras aren’t the end-all panacea of solving crimes, but they do help.

Which brings us to the aerial surveillance program proposed in Dayton. There is a small vocal group that’s very opposed to an eye in the sky. Would they be against using surveillance footage of the Boston Marathon bombing to help solve the crime? Doubtful.

Criminals don’t stop doing crime because of fear of getting their picture taken, nor do they stop because they know they can go to jail. For the most part, crime happens because someone didn’t learn the difference between right and wrong, something is broken with their priorities in life, or, they don’t feel as if they have any other options. In this “land of opportunity” one opportunity is to be incarcerated. We have the highest incarceration rate on the planet. Something like one in 31 has spent time in prison. We spend a lot of money keeping people locked away for doing minor crimes, much of it related to drug addiction.

Catching criminals isn’t solving our problems quickly enough, just like having the biggest, baddest military isn’t scaring anyone away from waging terror on us, since a conventional war isn’t really a sane option. If we want to look at the real problems in our country, no surveillance cameras are needed- the real crime is the divisive nature of our economy. On one hand, we have the subsistence population (as Leona Hensley called them, “only the little people pay taxes”) and those who are pocketing, literally billions (without anyone making a connection between our economic mess and the cold hard fact that the giant sucking sound wasn’t Mexico – but Wall Street):

Certainly, plenty of hedge fund titans took home billion-dollar paydays last year despite the fact they lagged the big gains in stocks. For example, Steven A. Cohen, who controls $15 billion in assets at SAC Capital Advisors, which has been under intense scrutiny by government investigators, fell just short of the market’s returns for 2012. His take-home pay, however, was about $1.4 billion, earning him the No. 3 spot among the best-paid hedge fund managers.

via Hedge Fund Titans’ Pay Stretches to 10 Figures – NYTimes.com.

If you wonder who robbed your garage, or bombed the Boston Marathon, and want to point fingers- think about a $1.4 billion dollar paycheck, and where it came from? All those foreclosures, that devastated the value of your home? The medical bills and insurance that became too expensive for you to afford? The reason we don’t have cops on our streets and are resorting to spy cams in the sky? The reason we can afford to pay to put dopeheads in prison but not make college affordable- it’s that it’s legal to pay yourself $1.4 Billion a year by manipulating the financial system and screwing the entire county.

Of course, I want the marathon bomber caught and brought to justice, just as much as I want the people who stole my bike and my kids’ bikes to be arrested too- but, I think we often get confused about what crimes are most heinous. Losing faith in our society is the most dangerous possibility, and most of us feel powerless to change it.

Throughout history, when the gap between rich and poor becomes unbearable, usually, a revolution resets the system.

It’s not big brother that should scare you, it’s our brothers and sisters who are not paying attention.

And just for entertainment, here’s a partial report on how much Steven A. Cohen spent buying his freedom from prosecution:

Contributions to Political Committees

COHEN, STEVEN
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   AYOTTE, KELLY A
VIA FRIENDS OF KELLY AYOTTE
08/27/2010 2400.00 10020821933
09/27/2010 2400.00 10020821923

COHEN, STEVEN
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS, LP

   EVERY REPUBLICAN IS CRUCIAL (ERICPAC)
12/08/2009 5000.00 10990143759

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
S.A.C. CAPITAL ADVISORS

   LARSON, JOHN B
VIA LARSON FOR CONGRESS
10/31/2008 2300.00 29932513667
11/02/2012 2500.00 13960811624

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC

   BAUCUS, MAX
VIA FRIENDS OF MAX BAUCUS
10/30/2008 2300.00 28020733244

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL

   DODD, CHRISTOPHER J
VIA FRIENDS OF CHRIS DODD
09/08/2008 2300.00 28020563047

 

   LIEBERMAN, JOSEPH I
VIA FRIENDS OF JOE LIEBERMAN
06/29/2006 2100.00 26020431247
06/29/2006 2100.00 26020431247
08/03/2006 10000.00 26020770291
09/20/2006 10000.00 26020770291

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   CAMP, DAVID LEE
VIA DAVE CAMP FOR CONGRESS
10/30/2008 2300.00 29991679919

 

   CANTOR, ERIC
VIA CANTOR FOR CONGRESS
11/04/2008 2300.00 28993356222

 

   DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
09/27/2006 26700.00 26020872167
06/07/2007 28500.00 27020281185

 

   KIRK, MARK STEVEN
VIA KIRK FOR SENATE
09/22/2009 2400.00 29020410060

 

   MCCONNELL, MITCH
VIA MCCONNELL SENATE COMMITTEE ’14
10/31/2008 2300.00 29020051570

 

   REID, HARRY
VIA FRIENDS FOR HARRY REID
10/28/2008 2300.00 29020061009

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS LP

   PORTMAN, ROB
VIA PORTMAN FOR SENATE COMMITTEE
04/28/2010 2400.00 10020441720

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SELF

   GRASSLEY, CHARLES E SENATOR
VIA GRASSLEY COMMITTEE INC
06/10/2008 2300.00 28020722889
06/10/2008 2300.00 28020722889

 

   SMITH, GORDON HAROLD
VIA FRIENDS OF GORDON SMITH
10/24/2008 2300.00 29020160119

 

   WYDEN, RONALD L
VIA WYDEN FOR SENATE
05/01/2009 2400.00 29020260602

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06906
CLAYTON HOLDINGS INC.

   OBAMA, BARACK
VIA OBAMA FOR AMERICA
09/04/2008 250.00 11972481476

COHEN, STEVEN
STAMFORD, CT 06906
SAC CAPITAL

   LIEBERMAN, JOSEPH I
VIA FRIENDS OF JOE LIEBERMAN
08/07/2006 250.00 26020770502

COHEN, STEVEN
WESTPORT, CT 06880
ADVANCED RADIOLOGY CONSULTANTS

   AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
04/21/2012 250.00 12971231222

COHEN, STEVEN
WESTPORT, CT 06880
SRA PC

   JOHNSON, NANCY L.
VIA JOHNSON FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE
03/05/2004 2000.00 25980354365
10/23/2006 2000.00 27930468046

COHEN, STEVEN A
GREENWICH, CT 06831
S A C CAPITAL ADVISORS LLC

   BENNETT, ROBERT F
VIA BENNETT ELECTION COMMITTEE
05/05/2004 2000.00 24020542925

COHEN, STEVEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06902
S.A.C. CAPITAL ADVISORS, LLC

   MANAGED FUNDS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
04/27/2007 5000.00 28991310128

COHEN, STEVEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL

   DODD, CHRISTOPHER J
VIA CHRIS DODD FOR PRESIDENT INC
03/31/2007 2300.00 13961167632
03/31/2007 2300.00 13961167632

 

   HATCH, ORRIN G
VIA HATCH ELECTION COMMITTEE INC
10/06/2010 2400.00 11020050260

COHEN, STEVEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   ALL AMERICA PAC
11/07/2006 5000.00 27940122910

 

   BAYH, EVAN
VIA EVAN BAYH COMMITTEE
11/07/2006 2100.00 27020042338

 

   GRAYSON, C M ‘TREY’
VIA FRIENDS OF TREY GRAYSON
09/25/2009 2400.00 29020403781

 

   SUNUNU, JOHN E
VIA TEAM SUNUNU
03/23/2007 2000.00 27020144274
11/30/2007 300.00 28020041233
11/30/2007 2300.00 28020041234

COHEN, STEVEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS LLC

   THUNE, JOHN R
VIA FRIENDS OF JOHN THUNE
04/24/2009 2000.00 29020251131

COHEN, STEVEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS, LLC

   FORD, HAROLD E JR
VIA HAROLD FORD JR FOR TENNESSEE
08/03/2006 2100.00 27020030600
08/03/2006 2100.00 27020030600

COHEN, STEVEN A MR
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   ENSIGN, JOHN E
VIA ENSIGN FOR SENATE
05/07/2009 -2400.00 10020014007
05/07/2009 2400.00 10020014007
05/07/2009 4800.00 10020014007

 

   NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE
10/17/2007 28500.00 28020111672
07/07/2009 30400.00 29020304603
10/31/2012 30800.00 12021110536

COHEN, STEVEN A MR.
GREENWICH, CT 06831
S.A.C. CAPITAL

   BUSH, GEORGE W
VIA BUSH-CHENEY ’04 (PRIMARY) INC
02/03/2004 2000.00 24962770813

COHEN, STEVEN A.
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   TRUTH ACCOUNTABILITY AND COURAGE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (TACPAC)
12/16/2009 5000.00 10930278718

COHEN, STEVEN A.
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   BONO MACK, MARY
VIA MARY BONO MACK COMMITTEE
12/15/2009 2400.00 10990214333

COHEN, STEVEN A. MR.
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   ALTSCHULER, RANDOLPH MR.
VIA RANDY ALTSCHULER FOR CONGRESS
11/12/2010 2400.00 10992489248

COHEN, STEVEN DR.
WESTPORT, CT 06880
ADVANCED RADIOLOGY CONSULTANTS

   AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
05/20/2008 250.00 28932487551
05/21/2010 250.00 10990781432
05/23/2011 250.00 11931687310

COHEN, STEVEN E.
BRIDGEPORT, CT 06605
NORWALK COMMUNITY COLLEGE–STATE

   DONOVAN, CHRISTOPHER G
VIA DONOVAN FOR CONGRESS
10/04/2011 200.00 12950416897

COHEN, STEVEN E.
BRIDGEPORT, CT 06605
NORWALK COMMUNITY COLLEGE

   DONOVAN, CHRISTOPHER G
VIA DONOVAN FOR CONGRESS
06/29/2012 200.00 12940768914

COHEN, STEVEN M. M.D.
WESTPORT, CT 06880
ADVANCED RADIOLOGY

   MURPHY, CHRISTOPHER SCOTT MR.
VIA COMMITTEE TO ELECT CHRIS MURPHY
08/15/2008 250.00 29990942206

COHEN, STEVEN MR
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   TOOMEY, PATRICK JOSEPH
VIA FRIENDS OF PAT TOOMEY
04/05/2010 -2400.00 11020120412
04/05/2010 2400.00 11020120412
04/05/2010 4800.00 11020120411

Total Contributions:    273450.00

Joint Fundraising Contributions

These are contributions to committees who are raising funds to be distributed to other committees. The breakdown of these contributions to their final recipients may appear below

COHEN, STEVEN A.
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

   TAKE BACK THE HOUSE 2010
10/21/2010 15000.00 10992287101

Total Joint Fundraising:    15000.00

Recipient of Joint Fundraiser Contributions

These are the Final Recipients of Joint Fundraising Contributions

COHEN, STEVEN
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS, LP

   EVERY REPUBLICAN IS CRUCIAL (ERICPAC)
10/21/2010 5000.00 10992275351

COHEN, STEVEN
GREENWICH, CT 06831
SAC CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

   CONTINUING A MAJORITY PARTY ACTION COMMITTEE (CAMPAC)
10/21/2010 5000.00 10992336354
   PROSPERITY ACTION INC.
10/25/2010 5000.00 11990320464

Recipient Total:    15000.00

TRY A: NEW QUERY
RETURN TO: FEC HOME PAGE

And note- he’s also entered under “Stephen” for a little kicker
Contributions to Political Committees

COHEN, STEPHEN
STAMFORD, CT 06902
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS

   KANJORSKI, PAUL E.
VIA PENNSYLVANIANS FOR KANJORSKI
03/31/2008 2300.00 28932437233

COHEN, STEPHEN A
STAMFORD, CT 06903
ERNST & YOUNG LLP

   ERNST & YOUNG POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
06/12/1997 300.00 97032163373
05/12/1998 300.00 98033183936
05/05/1999 300.00 99034524474
04/07/2000 500.00 20035602569
03/22/2001 500.00 21990078827

 

   SCHUMER, CHARLES E
VIA FRIENDS OF SCHUMER
02/21/2001 1000.00 21020150168
06/28/2004 1000.00 24020452502

COHEN, STEPHEN MR.
STAMFORD, CT 06903
ERNST & YOUNG L.L.P.

   GIULIANI, RUDOLPH W
VIA RUDY GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE INC
12/23/2007 2300.00 28990602997

Total Contributions:    8500.00

TRY A: NEW QUERY
RETURN TO: FEC HOME PAGE

Whomever said “money is the root of all evil” never imagined it being reported this way on the FEC database. Buying your freedom when you are out of this world rich, is relatively cheap.

When government goes political: misuse of authority in Dayton

According to the Dayton Daily News, Matt Joseph and Nan Whaley directed the city “public information officer,” Tom Biedenharn, to hold a press conference to talk about the national unemployment rate which is being used as a political football in the presidential race.

Mayor Leitzell sat in the audience and reportedly told the paper that this belonged down the street in Democratic HQ. The city law director, John Danish, and the deputy city manager, Stanley Earley, should both be reprimanded or dismissed for not understanding the difference between politics and government. This is pretty cut and dried.

City Hall is where official city  business takes place. Official city business of the commissioners, by charter, is handled at the charter-specified single legal meeting of the week: held on Wednesdays and attended by at least 3 commissioners. To make an official statement- they would need to hold a vote and have at least three votes in support. There is no confusion about what is appropriate or legal here- this partisan political stunt by two little-league commissioners should result in an investigation and some sort of penalty if not criminal charges.

We just went through a long drawn-out discussion on what was allowed in the SB-5/Issue 2 vote- where it was even questioned whether buttons could be worn on city property by employees.The use of Obama campaign graphics in official city business is clearly a partisan party activity.

While you can read the whole DDN story here: Questions raised after Romney criticized in city news release there is one choice quote from Whaley- who apparently believes it is OK to hold political discussions in public space:

“I’m talking about two people running for political office and the effects they will have on the city,” said Whaley. “City Hall is a public space.”

Which brings us to the Occupy protesters. Isn’t Courthouse Square a public space? The protesters were talking about two classes of people and one of them is running the country and having a huge effect on the city. If City Hall is “public space”- then, I guess the protesters should just take up residence in the Commission Chambers. Considering I was arrested in that public space by former Mayor (now Congressman) Mike Turner for symbolic political speech protesting proposed guidelines to limit public speech (discussed in an illegal meeting of the commission) I can tell you that Whaley apparently has no clue about what official city business is- and when it’s appropriate to use city resources for political speech. By the same standard, she should be arrested- or at least censured by the other three members of the commission.

Here is a well-measured interview with Mayor Leitzell by David Sparks with the Dayton Informer of our self-proclaimed independent mayor (I believe him- but the endorsement of the Republican party of his campaign is still a question mark) on this topic:

He correctly states that Whaley’s and Joseph’s actions could be interpreted as the beliefs of all Daytonians which is clearly not the case. If nothing else, Whaley and Joseph should be charged personally for rental of the room, salaries of public employees involved in this- including the time wasted fielding questions on the legitimacy of this press release.

If not- let’s occupy the commission chambers. It’s now been declared a public space.

The tax the 1% don’t mind paying: the political tax

In the last presidential election cycle, over $5 billion was spent on political campaigns. This cycle with the newly allowed superPACs, it could be double that. The mass media will never point out how ludicrous this all is directly, because it’s keeping them alive. If there is one reason to move the elections to July 4 instead of the first Tuesday in November it’s because it’s becoming near impossible for anyone other than politicians to buy media space until after the election and it makes it harder for real businesses that depend on fourth quarter sales to survive to advertise.

The billions don’t come from a majority of voters, a majority of the money comes from the 1%. It’s a voluntary tax on the wealthy who think that buying, I mean donating to, politicians is a better investment than just paying slightly more in income tax and putting this whole system of auctions/elections out of business.

It’s not just the direct political donations either, it’s the entire “lobbying industry” that costs them as well. From the NYT we read how the super rich from other countries come in and buy up politicians as well- despite laws against foreigners donating directly to campaigns:

In the summer of 2009, a Malaysian billionaire took an unexpected interest in a small town in the Catskill Mountains in New York. With little notice, he bought a stake in a racetrack casino where the owners had struggled for more than a decade to develop a gambling complex

It was the first move in a brash attempt by KT Lim, chairman of one of the world’s largest gambling conglomerates, to muscle his way into the potentially lucrative American market. But Mr. Lim’s company, Genting Berhad, did not go it alone.

First, Genting hired a lobbyist named John L. Cordo, who was once on the staff of the Republican majority in the New York Senate. Then, with the company rapidly expanding, it amassed a who’s who of influential lobbyists.

Now, as Genting pursues multibillion-dollar projects in New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack and in Miami, its lobbying offers a primer on how a well-heeled newcomer can make up for its lack of experience and connections in the United States.

Because casino gambling is highly regulated, the industry has long drawn swarms of lobbyists promising to help navigate state capitols….

Christian Goode, a senior Genting executive on the New York and Miami projects, said in an interview that Genting had hired so many lobbyists in those locations because it wanted to participate in the political process “like any other company.”

Mr. Goode declined to discuss the lobbyists’ specific roles. “We are a large multinational company with lots of exposure,” he said. “Things come up from time to time. We just want to make sure we’re properly represented.”…

“Being a relatively unknown Asian company has not been an impediment for Genting in New York or Florida,” said Grant Govertsen, a principal of the Union Gaming Group, a research firm. “More than anything else these days, money talks.”

Gambling critics said Genting’s ability to spend so lavishly on lobbying suggested how much the company stood to gain.

“They intend to soak so much money out of our community that spending millions on local and state government isn’t much more than a rounding error,” said Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor in Miami and the chairman of the No Casinos group in South Florida.

via Genting Berhad Muscles Into American Gambling in New York City and Miami – NYTimes.com.

In another article in the NYT today, the one tool that can level the playing field in politics, the Internet, is being debated as well. The activists that call themselves “Anonymous” have launched “Operation Hiroshima” to attack those who want to pass SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) by posting private data and  smearing those who support it.

The technology industry, including giants like Google and Yahoo, and advocates for Internet freedom say the bills would censor the Internet, stifle free speech and give the government too much power to regulate and shut down web sites in the United States. Both sides have spent millions on lobbying in Washington. But at the grass-roots level, the issue has galvanized Internet activists, who lack lobbying power but have promoted the cause among the online community.

“You take our speech, you take our Internet, you take our Bill of Rights, you take our Constitution, we fight back,” said a monotone voice on a YouTube video posted by Anonymous before the Operation Hiroshima document drop.

Lawmakers and their aides have also been targets. A photograph of a 25-year-old aide for the House Judiciary Committee was superimposed into pornography by a group related to Anonymous, according to another aide who was briefed on security threats to lawmakers and their staffs. “Why can’t they just hire a lobbyist like everyone else?” this aide said.

via Fighting Antipiracy Measure, Activist Group Posts Personal Information of Media Executives – NYTimes.com.

And the articles on money buying politicians and influence just keeps coming- with Newt Gingrich even calling off the dogs of a “SuperPAC” that is smearing Mitt Romney:

Misleading and exaggerated claims in a film portraying Mitt Romney as a heartless job killer led Newt Gingrich to ask on Friday that the group behind it change or withdraw it, even though Mr. Gingrich is the intended beneficiary of the film….

But the group running the video, the pro-Gingrich “super PAC” Winning Our Future, made no move to alter the work….

By calling for the ads to come down or undergo changes, Mr. Gingrich was potentially getting to have his cake and eat it too, reaping the benefits of attacks that have been nationally branded as false while publicly distancing himself. Yet he also faced the risks of being associated with an attack by a group that has a former close aide, Rick Tyler, as a senior adviser….

But in questioning the advertisements’ accuracy on Friday, Mr. Gingrich was providing an early test of the benefits and risks to political candidates like him who, with little of their own financing, are being sustained by super PACS, which can use unlimited resources to help candidates and attack their opponents as long as the campaigns do not coordinate with them.

So far, these groups are running nearly as many advertisements per day as the candidates themselves, according to an analysis by Kantar Media/CMAG, which reports that they are spending far more than the actual campaigns because they do not get the same discounted rates from stations that candidates get. Winning Our Future is heavily in the mix, having received a $5 million commitment from the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

via Gingrich Calls for Withdrawal of Ad Against Romney and Bain – NYTimes.com.

Do you get the feeling that it’s not our election anymore? Most of the people I know can’t afford to make $2,500 donations to multiple candidates or hire a lobbyist to try to get their tax burden reduced. Many of the people I know dread the return to $4 a gallon gas, put off going to the doctor because even if they do have insurance, the hassle of the multiple bills coming from three different places overwhelms them.

When we elect a person, we don’t even expect them to be able to work without the support of lobbyists. It seems the entire region believes that somehow we need to pay for the Dayton Development Coalition to tell our elected representatives how to save our collected communities. We’ve got the best politicians money can buy, but their price tag is beyond the average voter’s pay scale.

If we really want to cut taxes on the wealthy, the first one that needs to go is the political tax. Let’s take the money out of politics and just pay the bill to send all voters a printed guide with equal space for every candidate and issue. Give the voter time to study it, research further online and vote by mail (like Oregon does). Let’s implement “Instant runoff voting” so that we skip the long primary season and never ever have to vote against someone, or vote for the lesser of two evils again. Why should anyone ever feel their vote is wasted?

Watch this video from www.rootstrikers.org

Striking The Root of Wall Street Corruption from Sean McDaniel on Vimeo.

Inequity kills economies: economies now run countries

“Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.” Mark Twain

Politicians used to understand this. Promises of a better tomorrow, with jobs, a standard of living higher than it is today- were standard campaign promises. Now, we have “hope” and “change” with no promise whatsoever.

If we likened life to a game of Monopoly- where the goal is to acquire as much money and real-estate as possible, with a finite amount of both (and like it or not- the planet has a finite number of resources in some ways and can only support so many players)- we’ve done a really great job of it.

Just remember this- when you own all the real estate  and have all the money when playing Monopoly, game is over.

To start the game again, wealth is redistributed. We start from scratch.

If it’s not and you want to continue to play- someone has to rob the winner  to continue.

When the debt load on the 99% combined with banking fees, taxes, gasoline costs, health-care costs, welfare costs  and taxes exceed the 99%’s ability to pay- the country goes into crisis. Like it or not- that’s where we are now, we just keep fooling ourselves that “recovery” is happening as one data point or another is manipulated for a government report: unemployment, productivity, factory orders etc.

Congress can’t seem to get our government spending under control- but wants to blame the little guys for the crisis. Yet, when the wizards of Wall Street went belly-up, there was no bankruptcy or foreclosure- just the taxpayers stuck with the bailout bill while the billionaires went off scot-free. Yet, steal food to feed your family- and you’ll go to jail, directly to jail.

The “super-committee” can’t cut its way to financial fixes and even raising taxes on the rich won’t solve the problems. We need systemic changes in the way we distribute wealth in this country- and I’m not talking about socialism. Monopoly is a game with rules- where everyone gets the same deal- the United States has let the rich write the rules to favor them, and it’s made the game so lopsided that we’re all screwed.

What the rich running the country and paying off our politicians haven’t been able to reckon with is the fact that their game of Monopoly gets very boring in the last rounds, when the barons of Park Place with a hotel clean you out and you succumb.

From BusinessWeek:

Somehow it just doesn’t seem right that so many Americans struggle while a handful prospers. What many are missing is the actual impact rising inequality is having on the U.S. economy. Hint: It isn’t good.

Since 1980 about 5 percent of annual national income has shifted from the middle class to the nation’s richest households. That means the wealthiest 5,934 households last year enjoyed an additional $650 billion beyond what they would have had if the economic pie had been divided as it was in 1980, according to Census Bureau data.

The typical U.S. household, meanwhile, has yet to regain the ground it lost during the recession. The median income of $49,445 at the end of 2010 remains a shade below the level reached in 1997, adjusted for inflation. “Income inequality in this country is just getting worse and worse and worse,” says James Chanos, president and founder of money managers Kynikos Associates. “And that is not a recipe for stable growth.”

In the 1960s economists such as the late Arthur M. Okun, who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, believed that societies could emphasize equality or growth, not both. Today, when the quality of the workforce plays a larger role in determining who prospers, many economists—including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke—now believe that equality and growth are linked. As Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist, wrote in September: “Widespread education has become the secret to growth. And broadly accessible education is difficult to achieve unless a society has a relatively even income distribution.”

Thus the growing chasm in the U.S. between the haves and the have-nots has serious consequences. Societies that manage a narrower gap between rich and poor enjoy longer economic expansions, according to research published this year by the International Monetary Fund. Income trends in the U.S. mean that future U.S. expansions could last just one-third as long as in the late 1960s, before the income divide began widening, says economist Jonathan D. Ostry of the IMF. The average postwar economic boom lasted 4.8 years, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The current expansion, which is just 27 months old, may peter out within a few months. Goldman Sachs (GS) said on Oct. 3 that the U.S. would be “on the edge of recession” by early 2012.

via How Inequality Hurts the Economy – Businessweek.

So no matter what the latest news report says, we’re still not going to dig out of debt (and the “super-committee” was only tasked with ending the deficit- with no impact on our national debt) without making some fundamental changes.

While the #Occupy movement isn’t giving us a soundbite solution to fix the system- they are doing a great job of clearly stating the problem: the 1% are collecting all the money and real estate at an increased pace and without stopping them, no one will want to play monopoly (life as we know it) anymore.

When people aren’t well fed- the rule of law goes out the door, people. You’ve been warned before.

So while our government at all levels seems to enjoy mocking the movement- and applying its “rules of law” on peaceful protests in tents in public spaces (as the local idiots of the Montgomery County Commission and the Dayton City Commission did yesterday through their paid proxies: County Administrator Deb Feldman and Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan) they are ignoring the alternative and what will inevitably come next. Riots, guns, survival of the fittest. All this while we have the smallest police force in Dayton history.

What’s even more discouraging is that our nation still thinks we have the right to sit in judgment on other countries- telling them to allow peaceful protests, advocating freedom of speech, protesting how their elections are rigged. We’re total hypocrites:

Obviously, what we call for in other countries isn’t what we call for here.

Besides the need to stop selling our elected offices to the highest bidder, it’s time to reevaluate and reorganize our entire country if we want to continue to exist as a sovereign nation. That’s right- the current system has us dangerously close to being owned, lock, stock and barrel by the Chinese who have more of our money than we do.

credit default swaps are betsRestoring banking controls that were enacted after the last great depression would be a good start. But, we need to look at what’s critical right now- jobs that pay enough to continue our standard of living.

It’s not about taxing the rich, as much as it is about tying great rewards directly to job creation. It’s time to reward people for employing U.S. citizens and paying them well- instead of for gambling on financial markets.

When a U.S. company like Standard and Poor’s or Moody’s has the ability to destroy a sovereign nation with the stroke of a pen by downgrading their credit rating- instead of the old-fashioned method of having a standing army invade and play capture the flag- we really should be reassessing the need for a military at all- unless it it is to subdue people from living as they wish.

The “Wealth of Nations” is a farce anymore. The entire value of a countries’ social capital, natural resources and even the infrastructure is nothing more than a piece of property on a global Monopoly board- with values set by a banker. Does this seem wrong to you?

The financial “instruments” that bankers have created, the transaction models that have been authorized by our corporate puppet politicians have destroyed the entire concept of money as a tool to engage in trade. It’s now a weapon and the most powerful people on the planet aren’t presidents, generals, prime ministers or kings- but the money brokers who seem to be outside the control of any country- or governing body.

While you may not know what a “Ladbroke’s betting slip” is, the picture I took of a posting  in London outside the Occupy LSX camp next to St. Paul’s 2 days before the camp was dismantled explains the reason the system collapsed- and it wasn’t because of the bad loans to poor people, it was how those bad loans were monetized after they were made.

If you are paying attention to Congress right now, we see a role reversal taking place- with Republicans against extending the payroll tax cuts putting more dollars in the hands of the people who still make their money through a paycheck (the 1% make their money through financial transactions). The Republicans claim that taxing the 1% isn’t fair either. Easy solution- put a transaction fee on every single financial market transaction on any trade that’s made that is for less than a year. (When playing Monopoly- there are no derivatives, flash trades, or options and you have to wait your turn to act).

Having access to public stock markets- and diversifying risk for large corporations is a huge competitive advantage, but the practice of letting those companies allow a few executives to make decisions like laying off workers to boost share prices – putting the costs of unemployment on the U.S. taxpayer- it’s time to put a halt to it. We need to tie the fortunes of the traders to the fortunes of the workers that they are exploiting at a ridiculous rate. We have to link pay to performance and stock values to real value- not the whims of Standard and Poor’s if we want to see a system that will continue to function. The alternative is riots and anarchy.

Yes, there can still be winners and losers in life- but, the proportion and scale needs to change. Monopoly is fine to play with a few friends for a few hours- but, it doesn’t work as a system to run the planet. It’s time to change the game.

“Super Committee” and “Rebound”- semantics for stalling the inevitable

The “Super Committee” has now failed and the stock market dropped. We’re in a tizzy over imaginary actions that never happened, caused by something that wasn’t.
The Dayton Daily News proclaims housing is rebounding in Dayton today. Really?

How do we come up with these superlatives without any real justification? I was having a short discussion with a good friend yesterday- a veteran police officer, talking about the plight of a friend in the courts- he says “the truth is malleable” – so true.

It’s why the entire industry of “Public Relations” exists. It’s why politicians hire “campaign strategists” and “consultants” to help put lipstick on their piggish campaigns.

What happened to actual action?

The stock market has taken wild swings- sometimes because the programs that now run trading encountered a programming hickup- or because we don’t look at facts anymore- especially when company financials have as much credibility as a slot machine. Every time you spin it- you get a different answer. Where are core fundamental answers in today’s world? We’ve got presidential candidates talking about evolution and others not knowing what happened in… what was the name of that country again? Can I buy a vowel?

I have an 8 year old who now thinks it’s fun to poke fun at me for “using big words” and “trying to show everyone how smart you are”- have we really started to worship stupid people?

Apparently well reasoned debate of the issues must be done in soundbites, because, well, we’re starting to have the attention span of a goldfish (which is supposedly, according to scientists about 3 seconds). The Occupy Protests can’t be serious because they can’t condenses their mission statement into 50 words?

What happened to intellectualism?

The problems we’re facing today aren’t going to be solved with slogans, flag waving or better PR. Things don’t change just because the media says they have- or because we have a new way of measuring “progress.” Things change because we actually make changes: real, substantive, fundamental changes.

It’s not saying “Hope” or “Change” it’s doing it.

I watched the movie “Too big to fail” on the way to Europe, which apparently is in the process of failing. (Highly recommended movie btw). It seems the guiding argument for creating the “super committee” was that  Congress was too big. Now, even 12 people have failed us as well. The handing over of this work to a committee of an even number could only bring failure- it was a recipe for disaster. What we need is a leader to actually step up and lead. The president has failed us, the free markets have failed us, our laws are failing us (when we have a CEO steal millions and get 7 days).

You have to wonder when the New York Times has an Op-Ed piece called “How China can defeat America” and they seem to have a better understanding of what made our country great than we do right now.

For all the talk, all the positioning, I’ve yet to hear a single substantive plan, a “New Deal” put forward to re-make America and solve our problems of widening economic inequality and the destruction of the middle class- and the imploding of our government’s financial standing at all levels. The bad news is we need at least two plans- to really have a debate.

To quote the most famous philosopher known to Americans, Mr. Miyagi, “Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no.’  You karate do ‘guess so,’ ” We’ve been trying to do karate by consensus and guessing so.

If we don’t make real changes soon, there will be a fight, just as we’ve seen other governments toppled or reconstituted (don’t even ask for a count on how many have changed in the last few weeks- Greece, Italy, Spain… without including the continuation of the “Arab Spring” which is outliving its media given name).

To quote a friend, Sally Hogshead: “Break out the nun-chucks and let the street fighting begin.” because if we don’t start talking seriously about making systemic change- it will be made for us the old fashioned way: I’ll quote a famous Chinese philosopher: Mao Zedong: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

We have more guns in America than we seem to have leaders.

That’s the very real reason that I know eventually we’ll come to our senses, or not.

That’s the inevitable if we don’t change soon.

 

 

Occupy Dayton IS the “Grande Illumination”

Sandy Gudorf is an overpaid tool of corporate America. As the president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership she is paid more than $100K a year to tax property owners and then give tax breaks to new businesses. She also hires cheap contract labor to do the job of cleaning downtown sidewalks as a way to sidestep standard employment practices.

Now, she also wants to limit free speech- because lighting a Christmas tree is now more important than free speech (never mind the separation of church and state). In the Dayton Daily News she claims that because she brings 30K people to the square and it’s a 39-year-old tradition- we shouldn’t be allowed to protest the giant inequities that have developed in our country- thanks to people like her who believe in corporate welfare more than in human welfare and dignity:

Occupy Dayton, the local Wall Street and establishment protest linked with other protests throughout the nation, is being asked to temporarily move from Courthouse Square downtown for the Nov. 25 Grande Illumination.

The request came Thursday from Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the business group that organizes the holiday ceremonial Christmas tree-lighting and festivities. “We respect their right to protest,” she said. “The kickoff of the holiday season isn’t the right place to make a political statement.”

via Occupy Dayton protest must relocate for Grande Illumination.

The question to ask Ms. Gudorf is how exactly she is going to enforce her personal ban on free speech- will people wearing Obama shirts be asked to leave the square? Or if the Klu Klux Klan shows up in their bedsheets? (she’ll quickly learn that arresting the KKK is impossible, it’s already been tested in the courts).

Sticker; get the money out of politics- the 99%

Sticker available from www.stickittothe1percent.com

Gudorf is an idiot. By whining a few weeks before the event, she’s already begun to solidify the movement’s resolve to be there. I plan on being there wearing my sandwich board- and I’ll be damned if she, or any police officer is going to tell me I don’t have a right to be there.

The Occupy Movement’s real motivation is to enlighten the 99% of the wholesale illegal transfer of wealth though government-sponsored policies that have made our country a third world debtor nation on the brink of collapse. The Sandy Gudorfs of the world have helped banks take our homes, our jobs and destroy our standard of living.

In fact, one of the main reasons the “Grande Illumination” has grown in scale over the recent years is because it’s a free event- something nice people can do who can’t afford a Christmas tree or as many presents as they used to give thanks to the wizards of Wall Street and our sold-out politicians.

I urge you to join me in protesting with the Occupy movement on Nov. 25th at Courthouse Square.

As a shameless plug: my ad agency, The Next Wave has produced some stickers to show your support of the movement and is donating 20% of each sale to the local movement. Stickers are 99¢ each and available at: www.stickittothe1percent.com

[UPDATE]

After a few days- Gudorf is now only asking for the tents to go – not the protesters- at least, that’s what I’m interpreting.

That’s an acceptable position – but- the protest can and should still go on.

@Shortwest Rick added this video to the discussion- well worth watching:

Another of the “Crazy Ones” who think they can change the world: Ken Aden Wade

David Esrati and Ken Wade

David Esrati and Ken Wade in front of Newcoms

Back in December of 2009 I wrote about a young US Army paratrooper who was going to transform our fair city of Dayton:

We listened to political neophyte (because he doesn’t want to be a politician) give an hour and 15 minute ramble on how the “real people” will bring “real results” to changing Dayton.

via Ken Wade an eternal optimist.

Citizens 4 Change came and went- as did Ken Wade, who returned to his native Arkansas, only to run for Congress.

For some odd reason- he was Ken Wade here- but now is Ken Aden in Arkansas. Here is some info from his bio:

Ken Aden, a native of Northwest Arkansas, believes it is time to put people first and politics last. He is the Democratic candidate for the Third Congressional District.

A former Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, Ken decided to run for Congress because he wants to serve his community and do his part to create jobs and revitalize the economy of the Third District.

While deployed in Iraq, Ken founded Citizens 4 Change Dayton in 2009, a non-profit founded upon the belief that people from every economic background and walk of life can come together in some small way to create for themselves a better community and neighborhood.

In 2010, following his service in the U.S. Army, Ken returned to Northwest Arkansas to help care for his grandparents and founded Residents 4 Arkansas based on the non-profit model in Ohio.

Originally from Pine Bluff and raised in Eastern Arkansas, Aden chose to pursue a career in the military after graduating high school.

During Ken’s service in the U.S. Army he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and the First Infantry Division in support of combat operations.

Aden has been awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge – among other medals, awards, and ribbons.

Ken has attended the University of Chicago and Mid-South Community College. He holds an AA from Arkansas State University.

Aden is a current member of the 82nd Airborne Association, the 1st Infantry Division Association, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

via Meet Ken | Ken Aden For Congress.

It’s still early in his race in Arkansas, and he’s running in a Republican district against an incumbent with money in the bank. But, he’s already taken up the call of the 99%

“I am a staunch and proud supporter of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. In fact, I helped folks here in Arkansas start an Occupy chapter in the Northern part of our state. This is a true grassroots movement made up of young people, veterans, students, and folks from across the middle class just like me who are sick and tired of irresponsible corporations buying politicians of both parties while many in the government stand idly by and give corporate America the keys to the proverbial candy store. It’s truly nauseating to know that so many politicians can be so easily bought, and not even loose an ounce of sleep over the fact that they are destroying everything which we hold dear. I firmly believe that more people need to become involved, and stand up for what is right! Corporate greed is the new pandemic in this country. The ratio of CEO pay to that of the average worker is a prime example of the kind of reckless behavior that corporations in this country are exercising on a daily basis. Just look at how many politicians Koch Industries has bought over the last ten years alone. As the next congressman from Arkansas I would support an amendment to destroy the destructive influence of Citizens United. The last time I checked, corporations are NOT and will never be real people.

via DownWithTyranny!: No Democrat Has Seriously Contested Arkansas’ Third District Since Bill Clinton In 1974… Until Now. Meet Ken Aden.

During his short time in Dayton, Ken managed to rally a few people to his cause. He refused to take a political side- claiming that Citizens 4 Change wasn’t a Democrat or Republican thing, he also swore off political aspirations.

It will be interesting to see if other Dems enter the race in Arkansas, and if Ken with his youthful idealism can make it past the primary.

One of the things I find fascinating is what does the voting public really want from a political neophyte in terms of qualifications? I supported a guy in Missouri who was a West Point professor, a Rotary Scholar and a decorated veteran, working on his PhD- who was running a well funded campaign against a lame incumbent. He got annihilated in the election.

I hope Ken does better in Arkansas, and I urge any of you who remember the effort this young man made in Dayton- to consider sending him a donation to say thanks for what he tried to do here.

He’ll need all the help he can get.

Miscarriage of justice: lying thieving CEO gets 7 days in prison, grocery clerk gets hammered

If you need further illustration of what is fueling  the #occupy movement, compare and contrast two local court cases.

The first is a white-collar swindler, Michael Peppel, who robbed 271 investors of huge sums of money, caused at least 1,300 people to lose their jobs, made his suppliers eat his debts, and then sat in his luxury home on house arrest for years while his lawyers were paid with stolen money- to keep him out of jail- only to be sentenced by a judge for life- to 7 days in prison:

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith, who concluded in August that a prison sentence of eight to 10 years would be appropriate under advisory federal sentencing guidelines, said she was moved by 113 letters of support she received from friends and family of Peppel. He was allowed to remain free until the Federal Bureau of Prisons directs him to report to a prison.

Peppel pleaded guilty to charges that he participated in a conspiracy to intentionally report false revenues and earnings at MCSi, to cover up losses and prop up the company’s stock prices.

Beckwith noted that five children, an ailing mother and brother depend on Peppel for support. The judge acknowledged that the sentence she imposed was a “huge” departure from the sentencing guidelines but said she does not believe Peppel is likely to repeat his white-collar crimes and that he does not present a threat to the public. There was no evidence that he had looted the company, the judge noted.

via Former CEO gets 7 days in prison, $5 million fine.

Also note, the MCSi was the recipient of locally funded corporate welfare- in that the Montgomery County Port Authority built them a new HQ at 4751 Hempstead Station Drive in Kettering and got caught holding the bag until Mead decided to bail from Downtown in the former Mead Tower to fill the empty building paid for by your tax dollars.

Compare this to a local grocery clerk who stole food stamps and sold a few handguns:

A Dayton grocery store employee who was implicated following investigations into alleged food stamp trafficking and other illegal activities at several local businesses has pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges.

Mohammed Qaqa, who worked at Food City, 1829 Germantown St., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to charges of dealing in firearms without a license; unauthorized acquisition, possession and use of federal food stamp access devices; and wire fraud.

Qaqa originally faced 11 counts of dealing in firearms illegally, seven counts of misuse of food stamp cards and two counts of wire fraud, but the other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Still, he could face as many as 40 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, but few people are sentenced to the maximum penalties, authorities said.

As part of his plea agreement, Qaqa admitted that on April 30, 2010, he sold a 9 mm handgun for $275 while he worked at Food City. The handgun was reported stolen in 2008.

Qaqa also admitted that on June 11 he illegally purchased an electronic food stamp card for $270 that contained $543.39 worth of food benefits, which he used to purchase various items. He admitted that on June 11 he also used a wire communication device to try to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food stamp program.

While working at Food City, Qaqa illegally sold 11 firearms and caused the loss of $2,779 by illegally trafficking in food stamp cards, according to the plea agreement. Qaqa bought seven cards for half the value of the benefits they contained.

via Grocery worker pleads guilty to federal charges.

Although we don’t know Mr Qaqa’s final sentencing- I’m sure it’s more than 7 days. One also has to wonder where does Mr. Peppel get $5 million- from an offshore bank account where he stashed the money he stole?

Justice in the United States no longer wears a blindfold, just a green accountant’s visor, checking off your balance sheet to see if you can afford the “get out of jail free” card- while the poor continue to “go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”

Judge Sandra Beckwith should be disbarred and thrown in prison immediately. Note, she was appointed by GW Bush, as if you would have guessed otherwise.

There is no excuse for her soft touch sentencing on this CEO- Criminal Extra Ordinary.

Illegal signs from the people who make the laws

It’s election time again. Not that voters really have any choices in our community thanks to our Board of (S)Elections and the obsolete Dayton City Charter which put the power of access to the ballot into the hands of unelected political party pogues.

When I run for office, all my signs go on private property, with permission of the property owner, as is required by law.

Dean Lovelace, Matt Joseph and the two challengers, Mark Manovich and William Pace all are engaged in placing their signs in the public right of way. I witnessed Russ Joseph (Matt’s brother and a County Employee) placing Joseph signs near the OH4 on ramp off Valley Street the other day- in violation of the law. I even called out to him- “you know you are breaking the law”- and he answered he knew.

Here is from the city website:

Illegally placed campaign signs in Dayton OH in the public right of way

When the people who make the law- break the law...

Illegal Signs

The City of Dayton is stepping up efforts to remove illegal temporary signs on public property that adversely affect the appearance of streetscapes, neighborhoods and business districts throughout the city.To halt the proliferation of illegal signs, the City of Dayton Street Maintenance crews will remove and dispose of temporary signs located within the public Right of Way, which includes tree lawns throughout the city. Sign removal will occur during the crews’ routine work assignments in the neighborhoods. Examples of illegal temporary signs include real estate signs, placards, and various advertisements placed on utility poles or in the public Right of Way.These kinds of signs are an unsightly blemish on the appearance of our neighborhoods and business districts. The quantity and variety of signs that are cropping up on street corners and along roadways are a distraction, and they can pose a visual barrier to motorists. We must discourage this practice for the sake of our neighborhoods.

via Illegal Signs.

Considering we just passed an ordinance that makes it illegal for the homeless to hold a sign (after we already required them to get a permit to beg) and have had such great success at moving them off our corners, I believe the same standard should be applied to political candidates. At $250 per sign or 30 days in jail for each sign, we’d be out of debt and idiot candidate free in no time, since the sentences would have them all incarcerated for at least 4 years.

Of course, the panhandling law didn’t solve the problem for the region- it just moved it around. Here is a picture of a panhandler holding a sign on the 675 off ramp to Col .Glenn next to Dave Dennis Chrysler the other night.

Panhandling with a sign in Riverside

Panhandling moved to Col. Glenn at the 675 off ramp

I hate to tie yet another post back to the #occupy movement, but this is yet another example of politicians holding themselves to a different standard than their constituents.

I ask all of you to join me in the lawful cleanup of all political signs in Dayton from public right of ways- center median strips, vacant lots, intersection corners not on private property. I ask the City of Dayton public works department to do their jobs- and the police department to fine and arrest the candidates for breaking the law.

Political signs are the lowest form of political speech known to man- saying nothing. If having signs out is the only way the voters know you- you don’t belong in office anyway.

It’s time to have real debates, instant runoff voting, deliver equal space in an honest voter’s guide to every voter and move to vote by mail. In the meantime- let’s start by applying their own laws to their campaigns.

Local media minimizes Occupy Dayton rally- while ignoring their role in the rally

In the same issue where they proudly show how much money is being spent with TV stations on Issue 5- they cut the number in half of the people in the protest:

Demonstrators allying themselves with protesters around the country who say they are fed up with corporate greed and perceived government indifference to Americans who aren’t wealthy and powerful, rallied Saturday on Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.

At least 100 people, a few of whom wore Halloween-style masks, carried signs and chanted.

via Over 100 demonstrators join ‘Occupy Dayton’ rally.

Not that 200+ people at a rally is a huge achievement, but considering this is growing from nothing to something exponentially in a few weeks, I still think we may be witnessing the start of the 2nd American Revolution- Arab spring style.

I was interviewed by David and Audra Sparks of “The Dayton Informer” and you can see why I don’t get elected- I’m not a good soundbite guy. I’ve got a lot of respect for what these two are trying to do- providing an alternative video news outlet for Dayton. Without access to fiber, the major problem in doing this type of site is upload speeds. Just another way the media barons keep the competition at bay. Here’s the interview:

You can see the size of the crowd toward the end of the video, and it numbers well over 100.

Please consider donating to the Dayton Informer via paypal to daytoninformer@gmail.com to help them continue to bring this kind of reporting to our community.

While the media still wants to mock the people for wearing Guy Fawkes masks, or not having a message, it’s pretty clear that our governor knows exactly who he wants to spend our tax dollars on: the very same corporations that already aren’t paying their fair share of taxes (and stop with the corporations don’t pay taxes, they pass it through to the consumers BS- they also spend quite a bit lobbying- to further unbalance the playing field), again, from today’s Dayton Daily News:

As promised, Gov. John Kasich is pursuing job creation at every turn, but his biggest successes have involved offering packages of more than $240 million in grants, loans and tax breaks to convince a handful of Ohio companies to sit tight or move just a few miles rather than pack up and leave the state.

via Kasich approves more than $240M packages to retain jobs.

Corporate welfare isn’t going to be so popular for very much longer. What was sad is that Mr. Sparks asked protesters yesterday if they knew local elected officials (with the exception of Dayton School Board members, William Schooler, Yvonne Isaacs and Stacy Thompson) all voted to give GE over $15 million in tax abatement just a few months ago, and the protesters had no idea.

Even though protesters are ill-informed, they won’t stay that way for long. Once they start really digging into how things got the way they have, we may be able to finally get a few constitutional amendments passed:

  • No more tax abatement at any level other than the national, unless broad policy is behind them (environmental protection).
  • Completely eliminate any private donations to political campaigns.

If the “Occupy” movement could just get these two things onto the ballot, we’d have a springboard for changing everything else.

There is one old adage that the media should remember when reporting on things like this movement, confounding their standards of clarification as part of the news gathering process: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

They have changed the world before, and it could be starting now. As to why they are stupid- the mass media can blame themselves. The story has been out there for years, they’ve just failed to report it.